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The Price of Sanity by Sue Oakes (~1997)

Why would 30-40 otherwise normal women wrench themselves out of a warm bed early on a Saturday or other morning to come to a Jazzercise class? For starters, there’s the superb workout, the physical exhilaration, the antidote to modern day physical stresses such as hunching over a computer all day-or all night as the case may be), and the wonderful camaraderie. But there is also the sanity thing. The great feeling that I don’t have to even think about or be responsible for anyone or anything else for an hour or more, and just be centered on me (a felony according to the motherhood contract). Sometimes, this luxury comes with a price tag.

Recently, I’ve been going to the early Saturday class, in addition to weekday classes as my computer class schedule prevents me from going on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. (I can’t help this--it’s taken me so long to decide what I want to be when I grow up!) However, on Saturdays, unlike during the week, my family is home and barely out of bed when I leave. This shouldn’t be a problem, right? Surely they can fend for themselves for an hour and a half. Right.

Today when I arrived home, Jeffrey, my 11 year old, was plugged into his Nintendo, and, as I climbed the stairs, I noticed that the shower in the main bath was running, meaning my seven year old daughter was in there. I then noticed that the door knob had been removed from the door. Now I know for a fact that when I left for class it was definitely on the door. This was my first indication that something was amiss. My suspicions were confirmed when I was greeted by my husband (who was coming out of our bath which is adjacent to the main bath) who informed me that after his shower, while he was still dripping wet, Cindy had started running her shower and then began frantically pounding on the wall between the two baths. As my husband’s shouts to her to determine her problem went unanswered, he wrapped a towel around himself and flew into the next bath half expecting to see her bleeding, vomiting, or slipping into unconsciousness. She then informed him that she would like to take a bath rather than a shower, and, from all indications, he lost it. (Ken was the world’s most patient, tolerant, laid back man. Then he became a father.) Somehow during the ensuing mêlée, the doorknob became separated from the door, probably during a punctuating slam.

He then told me that during his shower, the doorbell rang and our 85 pound Golden Retriever started barking loudly and running through the house, as is his usual warning whenever someone comes to the door. Of course Jeffrey should have answered the door, since he was in the living room which is one level closer to the front door, but the dear child was so engrossed with his Nintendo that he was blissfully unaware of his surroundings (his normal state). So Ken had to stop his shower, wrap himself in a towel, and run downstairs to answer the door. (It was one of my son’s friends.)

More often than not, whenever I dare to escape on a Saturday morning, this is how I am greeted upon my return. (Every week there is a different disaster scenario which has just been played out.) Sometimes I am tempted to think it’s not worth it, but when I really look at the whole picture, I realize that this is precisely why I need to get to class. It may be emotionally expensive to come home to this, but my sanity is priceless. (So is his. I then sent him off, alone, to Home Depot, to ogle the power tools.)

 
   
 

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